LAPD responds to viral TikTok showing heavily armed law enforcement in front of unhoused encampment on Venice Beach

A person jogs pass homeless encampment on Venice Beach
In this June 8, 2021, file photo, a jogger walks past a homeless encampment in the Venice Beach section of Los Angeles. Los Angeles City Council is poised to clamp down on homeless encampments, making it illegal to pitch tents on some sidewalks, beneath overpasses and near parks. The measure being considered Thursday, July 1, 2021, is billed as a humane way to get people off streets and restore access to public spaces. AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File
  • A viral TikTok shows an LAPD officer standing outside of a Venice Beach homeless encampment.
  • The LAPD told Insider that they were responding to a radio call warning of an assault with a deadly weapon.
  • LAPD said the suspect alleged that a woman attempted to steal his bike, which led him to pull out his pellet gun in defense.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

A 25-second video depicting heavily armed Los Angeles Police officers surrounding tents Venice Beach on July 25 has gained significant social media traction – on both TikTok, where it was originally posted, and Twitter.

The video shows at least two officers holding guns and several people sitting on the ground outside of tents covered with blue tarps.

LAPD Officer Norma Eisenman told Insider that the officers were responding to a radio call warning of an assault with a deadly weapon. The suspect was described as a white male in a blue tent who threatened to shoot people with his gun.

The LAPD said the suspect, whose name remains unknown, alleged that a woman attempted to steal his bike, which led him to pull out his pellet gun in defense. Though the suspect was temporarily detained, carrying a pellet gun is not illegal and he was eventually let go, according to the LAPD. There were no reported injuries.

“Officers arrived, the witness pointed out the tent with the alleged male with a handgun and tactical deployed. The portion of the video being circulated depicts this. The individuals were ordered out of the tent and complied,” Officer Eisenman told Insider.

Venice Beach is at the heart of Los Angeles’ homelessness crisis. Last week Councilmember Mike Bonin, who represents District 11, which includes Venice, was one of only two councilmembers who voted against an ordinance that would criminalize “sitting, lying, or sleeping” near “sensitive use” areas, like schools, libraries, and parks, and areas in the “public right-of-way,” like freeway ramps, bridges, streets, and sidewalks.

This ordinance will disproportionately affect the homeless population in LA, as previously reported by Insider. There are an estimated 41,000 unhoused people in the city of Los Angeles and about 1,600 unhoused people in the Venice neighborhood, according to KTLA.